Diagnosis and differential diagnosis of developmental disorders of speech and language

This chapter describes the diagnostic process necessary for the diagnosis and differential diagnosis of developmental disorders of speech and language (DDSL). This process starts with an interview of the parents and addresses the medical history, previous or current treatments, social conditions and family history of the child. Parents’ questionnaires are useful tools to assess the child’s language, sensory, motor, socio-emotional and cognitive developmental status. Central to the diagnostic process is the assessment of the age-related speech-language status of a child. It starts from the evaluation of spontaneous speech via informal assessment methods up to standardized language tests, the use of which is imperative. An algorithm of the diagnostics of DDSL, focusing on specific DDSL (SDDSL) and considering comorbidities, is an essential part of this chapter. Examples of language screenings and tests, and language-covering developmental tests, are outlined for German and English languages.

The chapter provides examination protocols for the articulation of speech sounds and oral-motor, tactile and kinaesthetic skills of children, including objective speech motor analysis, e.g. by articulography and sonography of articulation organs. In order to complement the evaluation of the language-relevant developmental status of a child, neuropaediatric and psychological examinations may be necessary, including the assessment of a child’s cognitive and general developmental status, behaviour, attention, laboratory and clinical neurophysiological examinations, such as electroencephalography (EEG) and radiological examinations, in particular cerebral magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computer tomography (CT).

Part of the European Manual of Medicine book series (EUROMANUAL)

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